Cuppa'T Specialty Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

90

Mad Tea Experiment Take 2.

So now that I have an orange and a few really good ideas (stolen from others, or course), I blended half and half lapsang with keemun. I added 4 small pink rose buds, 3 slices fresh ginger and a slice of navel orange. The orange and ginger stayed in the cup the whole time. WOW!! The keemun definitely toned down the lapsang. There is still some smoke but not overpowering. The keemun was not too smokey itself so I think that helped. I think with the experiment yesterday, I used Darjeeling but it was not strong enough to tone down the lapsang too much. The orange and ginger provide some spice, pepper, but also some sweetness. There is a very light citrous flavor. I actually want to try this with blackberries now.

This is totally reminding me of a rich, dark Chilean malbec. I love it.

Mad Tea Experiment #3.

I made this again, as above, but this time I added an actual French Vanilla Bean. Well it was actually half of a dried bean, I cut it open the long way and added it to the tea. I was ok. I thought it gave the tea a more alcoholic type taste. There was a creamy vanilla taste but it didn’t work so awesome with the ginger and the orange. I then added some maple syrup. The maple syrup definitely added some sweetness and was delicious as always with the lapsang. But I think for me I prefer this with my Experiment 2 recipe.

On another note, my maple syrup bottle used a cork as a stopper. When I went to take the cork out, it broke in half, leaving most of the cork in the neck of the glass bottle. So I had to dig it out with a knife. Now I have an open bottle of maple syrup. Guess that is what I am eating for the rest of the weekend :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

Sounds like a good weekend for waffles!
I heartily support all of your experiments, Lala! I’ll have to try the orange slice, haven’t done that yet.

tigress_al

I like the first experiment! Sounds good

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90

Mad Tea Experiment. YES. Its been a while.

So a few days ago (I think), someone made a comment or a tasting note (I think) about adding ginger to lapsang. It was Sil or Terri (I think). Sometimes things just all meld together.

Anyway I had this bright idea, that I had to do some experiments. I took this lapsang and brewed it mixed half and half with a Darjeeling of unknown origin. (I think it was from bulk barn – I think. Ha ha.) Then I added a slice of ginger. I had also wanted to add an orange slice but I could not for the life of me find a single orange for sale. Let me clarify, I could buy a 4 or 8 lbs bag of oranges, but I really just wanted one. And a real orange, not a mandarin. Anyway, all of the bagged oranges were gross looking, bruised with rotten spots. So I just went with the ginger.

The half and half mix of tea, toned down the smoke a bit. I am not a huge Darjeeling fan but I thought it would work for the experiment. I didn’t want to use of the prized assam (also from bulk barn – I think) in case it didn’t turn out. I didn’t taste the Darjeeling much. The lapsang was quite strong but not as strong as if drank straight. I just used one slice of ginger because I didn’t want it to get too spicey. I hardly tasted the ginger at all. It did add a bit of sweetness to the tea, but not that little spice that I would have liked.

So I now have an orange, an excellent looking orange to be exact. So I have some ideas for the next experiment. Stay tuned…I think :P

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

awesome! I think it was me and then terri echoed the same sentiment! I look forward to reading about more of your experiments!

MissB

What a great idea!

Terri HarpLady

Lapsang & ginger is one of my fantasies, & actually one of the 2 teas I entered in the Butiki blends contest. I’ve been experimenting on & off with it for months. Lapsang, ginger, vanilla, & caramel (or maple). I’ve also tried diluting the lapsang with keemun, because I want smoke, but not the whole BBQ! :)

Sil

mmmmmm…… terri…custom stacy blend?

OMGsrsly

Ooo, that sounds good, Terri!

Terri HarpLady

That is one of 2 blends I want, but the first one will be Irish Breakfast, vanilla, caramel (or Maple), & cinnamon.

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61

Thank you Lala for this sample. From my Secret Pumpkin package. :)

The cinnamon is strong in this blend but there is something spicier lurking behind it, like pepper or chilli…it tickles my nose as I sniff.

Flavour wise I had to double check I had the correct tea…I can taste cocoa mixed with cinnamon and spices. No pumpkin though which is a shame. The black tea is strong compared to the rest of the blend and at best it tastes like a black tea with mild spices.

Some sweetener lessens the black teas thickness but there is even less spice if none now to speak of.

This tea is just not for me, it’s disappointing but at least drinkable.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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97

Oh yum, I finally restocked this and I’m so glad that I did. I made this as a weekend latte treat and it was delicious, creamy, and chocolate.

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59

I’m just now getting back into my Secret Pumpkin/Turkey swaps! This one was from my Secret Pumpkin Lala. If I hadn’t known this was flavored rooibos, I might not have known, since it was mostly just rooibos. Thankfully, I like plain rooibos. Very occasionally I would get a hint of sweet almond in my sip, but it wasn’t throughout the sip, it was more like “ohh, ahh, nice, now back to rooibos”. This isn’t something I’d stock in my cupboard ‘cause really, if I wanted rooibos, I’d just buy rooibos, but I’ll definitely use up the sample.

Also, how many times can I include rooibos in a review? Many many times.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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73

sample sidpdown! and i’m back down to 140 teas. 15 days ish to get through 35 more haha.

I received this in the mail the other day from Lala with a really thoughtful, surprise holiday card. :) It was a wonderful surprise to get in the mail! Thank you a bunch lala. This tea smells a lot like a combination of brioche and S&V’s sweet almond tea (i think it is…) that i enjoy.

I brewed this up this evening since i was in a bit of a holiday, festive mood after my afternoon with raritea. This has a great almond taste to it along with a bit of cinnamon. It’s not cinnamon heavy though – rather the cinnamon just enhances the almond flavour. over all a pretty tasty tea, though it’s a little thin? for my tastes. While drinking it, i kept wishing for it to have a bit more of a full feeling to it. however, still a delicious cup! thanks Lala

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Lala

Happy you enjoyed it!

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70

I received a lovely holiday card tea card in the mail yesterday from Lala. Thank you so much for the warm, generous, thoughtful gesture. I am truly touched by your kindness. In the card was a sample of this tea.
This is a nice light almond cinnamon tea. In Lala’s tasting note she suggests cake, I’m getting bakery, but I think more strudel or danish – yep almond, cinnamon “coffee cake” danish.
I’m not sure I would have bought this for myself, but am really happy to have gotten this sample. Thank you!!!

Lala

You’re welcome. Glad you liked it.

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90

I actually really enjoy this rooibos. It is slightly woodsy but not too strong. Those woodsy notes work well here with the orange and pistachio.

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90

This cuppa was nice. There are actual strawberry bits and it tastes fairly natural. There is a definite creaminess. I quite enjoyed it

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Finished off the rest of my sample this morning. I’m taking the day off as it is my birthday and already managed to make a tea order (oops). I still like this but it’s not special enough for me to want to get more. Sipdown (why is this so satisfying?)!

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79

Thank you Lala for this sample. Received from my Secret Pumpkin package.

This blend smells very spicy and nutty. The coriander adds a herbal element to the spice, it is like a chai with a difference.

The orange comes through nicely in the flavour being sweet and creamy in the first few sips which is followed by a dry nutty and spicy chai like flavour. The pistachio is rather heavy for for a non pistachio fan like myself but it’s forgiving as by the time you think ‘yuck pistachio’ the spices come in and you end up thinking ‘yum spices’.

The orange actually becomes stronger as it cools which is a large plus for me as I love orange.

I like it, sort of orange tea meets a nutty chai tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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90

A little taste of paradise this morning. I wish I was on a beach somewhere right now instead of here in the cold and snow! Maybe in the new year I will go on a trip.

I still really enjoy this. The papaya is coming out a little more today. I guess I got some bits in my tsp! The black base can get really astringent if brewed for too long though, so you kind of have to watch the time on this one.

Boiling water cooled off a little at 3 minutes.

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80

Thank you Lala for this generous sample!

This tea is not as flavourful as I would of hoped as Lala mentioned. I still enjoy it though, the subtle black base and the subtle hints of orange. Not a tea I would choose if I wanted a big kick in the morning. It seems like an afternoon tea

Boiling water cooled down a bit for 4 minutes
Rating 85?

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76

This one initially reminded me of a chai, mostly because of the ingredients. But now that I have drank it, I would say nope, no chai in there.

This one tastes strongly nutty. Definitely a thick pistachio taste. But it is not super distinctive pistachio, I think I know it is pistachio because I knew that was one of the ingredients. The rooibos is kind of woody, but it is pairing really well with a sweet but light, and slightly bitter orange rind flavour. This is a blend where the woody taste of the rooibos is definitely working in favour of the tea. The pepper gives it is bit of heat but I would not call this a spicey tea. Very nice blend, definitely can drink this as the weather starts to turn colder.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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66

Any of you who have been following me for a while and reading my notes will know that I have certain “difficulties” with pu’erh.

I just can’t find a pu’erh that I like. It all tastes fishy or mushroomy to me. I have found some highly flavoured pu’erhs that I can drink. I feel like I really need to buy some expensive stuff and try it out to know for sure because I have only tried relatively cheap and generic pu’erh. But I don’t want to spend lots of money on something I am pretty much guaranteed not to like. Tea drama all around.

This tea smells like cinnamon candies, mmmmmm cinnamon, uuuggghhh pu’erh!?! It smelled delicious, it is a flavoured loose tea, so I thought I would try it.

The dry tea is solid red hots candy smelling.

After brewing, immediately as I took the strainer out of my cup, I got a quick whiff of mushrooms. Proceed with caution.

The smell of the brewed tea is not terrible, strongly cinnamon but also earthy, not mushroomy though. A little less caution now.

The tea tastes like cinnamon, not as sweet as it smells. The pu’erh tea is strong under the cinnamon but it is more earthy tasting. So no fish. No mushrooms. I do feel like I am getting a taste of dirt every once in a while. More like fresh, moist potting soil. (No, I don’t eat potting soil, but if you are a gardener you will know what I mean). The liquor feels very thick. It tastes strong.

This one is kind of reminding me of cinnamon coffee for some reason. Overall not too bad. I think I can drink this one. I just have to keep telling myself that not all pu’erh is evil.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fanatos

Not all puerhs is evil :)

tigress_al

Have you tried a quick rinse with pu’erh? That has worked for me on a couple that I found too “mushroom”

Lala

I have tried rinsing, although I don’t usually do that with flavoured pu. I have also tried diff steep temps and time, gonfu vs western style, trying more than one steep. I just can’t get it figured out. I think I just don’t like pu’erh. But I never get the same flavour profiles that other members on steepster get, so that makes me think I am doing something wrong. Ha ha.

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95

Attention Steepster. I love and hate you at the same time. I did not type for the last 5 minutes in order for you to just throw it all away without saving it. You are a cruel, cruel friend.

So back to the memories of this review…

I didn’t buy this one for me but I had to try it when I got home because it was so interesting. It also had rave reviews from the tea shop owner.

The dry tea reminds me so much of Christmas. It is black tea with red safflower petals and almond slivers. So pretty.

The dry tea does not really smell that amazing. It is kinda like cinnamon and nuts.

The brewed tea is delicious. The black tea and safflower petals give it a cake-y/heavy pastry flavour. There is a light cinnamon taste. It is more sweet cinnamon than spicey cinnamon. There is a light almond flavour. It is not marizipan like I find a lot of almond teas taste like, it is more natural almond taste.

This one reminds me of a coffee cake (heavy white cake/bread with cinnamon and sugar). I don’t think this one is going to last too long in my house. I will most likely go and get more.

I can imagine this would be great with milk and brown sugar, so I will just have to try another cup.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

sounds delicious!

Terri HarpLady

I hate when that happens!
The tea sounds tasty though!

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Hmm I’m pretty sure now I know Lala was my secret pumpkin!

In any case, maybe it’s my cold, or maybe I didn’t steep long enough, but this is a very light spice. I’m not detecting any pumpkin. I added a touch of sweetener. It’s not bad by any means but I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to purchase.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

Ha ha. Not too hard to tell it was me, hey?

jeweledthumb

Well when the only other review was from you, it was a good clue!

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77

Made this one again this morning. I made the tea double strength and then added some brown rock sugar and milk. It is much more pumpkin pie/pumpkin dessert like this. I am getting the taste of pumpkin and autumn spices, I am also getting a bit of pastry taste. It is also very creamy, most likely from the milk I added but it is working well with this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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77

This is not a tea I would normally have purchased. I picked it up for the Secret Pumpkin exchange. Stepping outside the box!!

This one smells like a chai to me. Reminds me of Christmas spices, lots of cinnamon smell.

The tea tastes quite good. It is reminded me of pumpkin oatmeal cookies that my mom makes. Its essentially an oatmeal cookie with pumpkin paste mixed in. They are super soft and delicious. Pumpkin is not necessarily my favorite in pie form, but cookie form – delicious. There are definitely pumpkin pie spices. I taste cinnamon, maybe nutmeg.

I think the liquor could have been thicker, so next time I will have to try using more tea. I used 1 tsp for this cup. I think some creamer or milk may have helped bring out the dessert taste in this.

Overall not bad. I was worried that there was hibiscus in the ingredients but I can’t even tell its in there.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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68

I actually did not intend to buy this tea. But I wasn’t paying attention and this is what I came home with.

This tea smells very sharp. There is definitely an almond smell. I would describe this tea as candied almond. There are small pieces of chopped up almond in the mix. The brewed tea smells like sweet almond. I almost get a hint of Granny Smith green apples.

The tea tastes strongly of rooibos. There is a sweetness from the rooibos. There is also an almond taste. Very slightly like marzipan but not quite. I get that little bit of apple flavour in the aftertaste.

Overall an ok tea for a rooibos blend, not what I wanted but I guess I should be paying more attention next time. Its like I get into a tea store and can’t even focus…there is too much to see and smell and I just want, want, WANT…ha ha. I think it is safe to say that is a common occurrence for most of us… :P

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
tigress_al

Lol, I always get carried away in tea shops, and Cuppa is no exception!

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100

Beautiful creamy cuppa of this gem yesterday morning.

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60

I had an idea to turn this tea into a bath tea and it turned out marvellous! I am not a fan of lavender in tea, but in a bath, it is so relaxing. So I put Epsom salts, tea, a tiny bit of lavender essential oil, and some baking soda as a skin softener.
Ah, now that’s one glorious bath!

Terri HarpLady

That’s awesome!
I should try doing that with some of the teas I don’t really care for :)

tigress_al

Yep! I heard white tea is supposed to be good for your skin so I figured what the heck! Might as well try it

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